Lifting Our EyesPosted by Vincent O'Hara
The great British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton once said “If geography itself has any significance it is that we are made to lift our eyes from our small provincial selves to the whole magnificent world.” The seventh-grade humanities students have begun their year-long journey around the world. Studying the aspects of culture, they are learning about how the language, religion, government, daily life, art, economy, history, and social groups make a place unique. Our class is beginning with identifying US geography and from there we will travel due south to South America for our next novel and cultural exploration. Along the way, we will be lifting our eyes to all the beautiful geographic and cultural diversity our world has to offer.
A Walk in the WoodsPosted by Cameron Ross-MacCormack
Fifth graders were super excited to get going on their outdoor, fall field experience last Friday. The goal, to spend the day together, outside, getting to know one another. The group spent the morning walking in a big loop around Paine Open Space in Easton. They trekked across fields, over stone walls and footbridges, noticing fungi and insects and encouraging each other to keep going even with tired feet. They spent the afternoon celebrating with a barbeque, a bonfire and a class dance-off. Reflecting back on their three hour walk, students were nothing but grateful, exclaiming “I can’t believe we get to do this at school!” As individuals, fifth graders surprised themselves with their own strength and endurance and together set a tone of perseverance, trust and solid teamwork for the school year ahead!
The Outdoor ClassroomPosted by Faith Barbuto
Yes, playing outside is fun, healthy and critical to child development and in kindergarten we do lots of it, but we also use the great outdoors to learn! Simple trips to the playground can become engaging math activities, where students are challenged to count objects or find examples of patterns or symmetry. The walk back from a fire drill can become a time to explore spider webs and mystery holes. When the budding scientists were armed with clipboards and asked to make scientific observations using their senses, the outdoor classroom really came alive! Sounds of insects, cars and babbling brooks were recorded. Lots of things we see everyday were more closely examined and noticed, rocks turned over to reveal whole villages of bugs! We smelled flowers, grass and hay – closing our eyes to breathe it all in. Using our hands to discover more about textures we felt rough bark, soft moss and damp grass. Everytime we step outside, a whole new world awaits!
Rain Won’t Stop Us!Posted by Ann Palm
The morning of “Camping Day” was rainy but the PreK students kept a positive attitude and started out camping inside! There we learned about sleeping bags, pack pillows, chairs that collapse into a small package and nesting pots to use for cooking. The idea of having no electricity or running water gave the students a lot to think about. The lantern would supply light, the ice chest would keep things cold, and fire would provide the heat for cooking. And, a parachute draped over a few chairs made a great indoor tent!
After lunch it stopped raining, so we headed out to the Unquowa woods. Seeing a bundle of material change to a tent big enough to fit the entire class inside was amazing! In the tent we beaded necklaces and had quiet activities. Outside we noticed that after the rain, the brook was running faster than usual and we even discovered a waterfall! To top off the day we roasted smores and in true camping fashion we washed our sticky hands in the brook. It was a fun, memorable day for early childhood students and teachers!
Something to Pond-erPosted by Faith Barbuto
Every year, around this time kindergarteners get to experience spring in full bloom at the idyllic pond at the Audubon Nature Center. After a brief instruction, our intrepid scientists are armed with nets and get to scooping. Specimens of muck and pond slime are carefully sifted through looking for all forms of pond life. What surprises me most about this trip is that the haul is always quite unique. Highlights of this year’s ponding event included not one but two snake sightings, several frogs caught and one huge bullfrog tadpole. After, we returned all the bits of rotting leaves back to the pond for we know that each leaf could be the nursery for hundreds of baby amphibians. The day was completed by a hike around the trails where you can just smell the new plants budding and life starting afresh.
Caribbean Vacation? How about Caribbean Conservation!Posted by Craig Knebel
Twenty-four 7th and 8th grade students traveled over spring break with Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Knebel and our Spanish teachers, Ms. DeAngelis and Ms. Fernandez, to work and vacation with the Dominican Foundation for Marine Studies or Fundemar in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic. As Ecotourists, our students learned about and worked towards coral reef restoration and marine mammal conservation. As global citizens, our students met community members affected by the loss of the reef and learned how to make crafts and projects to help rid the reef of invasive species. They snorkeled in bleached out and not bleached out reefs to compare the levels of biodiversity – the difference was striking. Other highlights included a cultural exchange with Dominican youth, visiting the six hundred year old first capital of the the Americas and exploring underground limestone aquifers. Oh yes, practicing speaking Spanish, beach time, bargaining in souvenir shops and a whitewater raft trip were also on the itinerary.